Well, last week I went 7-3. A little bit of a slip from the week before, but this week, I’m back on track.
Miami @ Clemson
Miami, fresh off of a win at Pittsburgh, goes on the road again against Kyle Parker and the Clemson Tigers. Miami must get improved quarterback play from JaCory Harris and also must continue to get good play out of its stable of young running backs. The Clemson defensive backs looked bad against Auburn and they are gonna be tested again with the speed of the Miami receivers. Kyle Parker must make quick decisions in the pocket because Miami’s front 4 can flat out bring it. Parker will do his best to keep Clemson in the game, but eventually the mistakes will happen with the pressure he is going to see from the Miami defensive line and the play-making skills of the Miami secondary.
Prediction: Miami 31, Clemson 17
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State
Wisconsin travels to Lansing for what will be a game focusing on one thing: the running game. The Badgers like to run the ball with RB John Clay. The big bruiser has pounded his way through defenses. Michigan State’s task is to stop the run and make Wisconsin beat you with the pass. Michigan State must run the ball to keep Wisconsin honest for their passing game. If Wisconsin can stop the run early, this will put the Spartans in 3rd-and-long situations where the pass is obvious. in the end, I don’t think the Spartans have what it take to stop John Clay and the Badgers on the ground.
Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Michigan State 17
Texas vs. Oklahoma
The Red River Rivalry takes to the new Cowboy Stadium again for their big battle. Texas must rebound from an embarrassing lost to the lowly UCLA Bruins. Texas must get Garrett Gilbert back on track and it starts with the running game, something that will be tough to do against a stingy Oklahoma defense. Someone must step up in the running game in order for Texas to be successful. Oklahoma has a ton of weapons at receiver and at running back. RB De’Marco Murray and QB Landry Jones will be the key for the offense against a Texas defense that is prone to giving up big passing plays. Texas will fight hard, but Oklahoma has too many weapons.
Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 20
Stanford vs. Oregon
This game is going to be a battle. The passing attack of Andrew Luck and Stanford should cause big problems for an Oregon secondary that has yet to be tested. Oregon and its fast-break offense will be running at breakneck speed as they race up and down the field. RB LaMichael James is the key to this offense. He will hurt the slower Cardinal defense. In the end, speed kills.
Prediction: Oregon 38, Stanford 24
Penn State vs. Iowa
In this Big Ten battle, the Nittany Lions travel to the Midwest. The “Spread HD” offense has looked like bootleg cable so far. Penn State must run the football with RB Evan Royster in order for Nittany Lions to be successful. The Hawkeyes will be ready, as the Hawkeyes have a reputation for having a stingy defense. On offense, the Hawkeyes will have to lean on the running game and the timely passing of QB Ricki Stanzi. The Nittany Lions defense must stop the run in order to take Stanzi out of his comfort zone. Ultimately, I don’t think the Lions will go on the road and defeat a tough Hawkeye team.
Prediction: Iowa 20, Penn State 17
Tennessee vs. LSU
UT travels to the Bayou for this SEC tussle. RB Taurean Poole and the young offensive line of Tennessee must be effective in the running game. The LSU Tigers will be a huge challenge for them. LSU has arguably the best defense in the SEC. They will force UT to pass the football, which isn’t their strength. On offense, the Tigers must get QB Jordan Jefferson going if they plan on contending in the SEC West. Against a UT defense that will be on the field a lot, I think he will get some rhythm going just enough to put this one out of reach for UT.
Prediction: LSU 24, Tennessee 10
Vanderbilt vs. Connecticut
This running game will be key for this game. Can RBs Warren Norman, Zack Stacy and Wesley Tate run all over the Huskies like they did the Rebels a couple weeks ago? I think the track record works in their favor. The Michigan Wolverines ran the spread on UConn and they ran wild. On the other side, UConn is a team trying to find itself still and has been struggling. Perfect time for Vandy to pay them a visit.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 20, UConn 13
Kentucky vs. Mississippi State
The Wildcats are coming off a sobering loss to Florida last week and they run into a buzz saw in the form of the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. The Bulldogs will use their offense to spread the Wildcats out to create running lanes. The Wildcats will try and get the football to RB/WR/QB Randall Cobb and RB Derrick Locke as many times as possible. QB Mike Hartline’s job is just to manage the offense, but if the Mississippi State defense does their job, the game will be on his shoulders. That’s not good for the Wildcats.
Prediction: Mississippi State 23, Kentucky 13
Georgia vs. Colorado
Georgia tries to get back on the winning track by traveling to Boulder. The Buffaloes aren’t a very explosive team, but they can spread you out, which will cause some issues for the Bulldog defense. If the Bulldog defense can handle the spread look of Colorado, then they can make stops and get their offense back on the field. QB Aaron Murray gets a big weapon back in WR AJ Green. But, even with Green back, the biggest friend for Murray is the running game. If RBs Wayshaun Ealy and Caleb King play well, then Georgia will be successful.
Prediction: Georgia 24, Colorado 13
Florida vs. Alabama
In this SEC Title Game rematch, these two teams square off in Tuscaloosa. Alabama’s offense is powered by RBs Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram. If Florida is able to stop the running game, then the game will become more interesting. Another matchup that will be worth watching is WR Julio Jones vs. CB Janoris Jenkins. Jones must make plays to keep the safeties from creeping up in the box against the run. John Brantley has struggled this season and I expect that his best weapon, the running game(Jeff Demps), will be taken away by a Marcel Dareus, Dont’a Hightower and the Alabama defense. If Demps is taken away, the Tide defense can just pin its ears back and pressure the quarterback. This could be a long game for Brantley.
Prediction: Alabama 34, Florida 17
Here are my predictions for the week. If you disagree, add a comment.